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Ferrochrome Furnaces smelting complex refurbishment, South Africa – update

Image of man next to ferrochrome

Photo by Ironveld

7th July 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Ferrochrome Furnaces (FCF) smelting complex refurbishment.

Rustenburg, in South Africa’s North West province.

Project Owner/s
Aim-listed iron, vanadium and titanium developer Ironveld plans to raise up to £5-million to acquire the remaining stake in the mothballed FCF business it does not already own, and to refurbish the FCF smelting complex.

Ironveld has agreed with FCF’s business rescue practitioners, Tayfin Forensic and Investigative Auditors, to acquire the share capital of FCF for a nominal fee and buy the outstanding debt from the sole creditor.

Project Description
Ironveld announced in July 2022 plans to refurbish the FCF smelting complex comprising four 2.5 MW tilting electric arc furnaces (EAFs), four convertors with ladles, cranes and associated buildings and equipment. The project will bring three of the four EAFs into production on a phased basis.

It proposes to start processing from the first furnace while the others are being brought back into production, thereby accelerating cash flow from sales.

The plans allow for upgrading the high-purity iron (HPI) product to a higher-value powder form.

Once three furnaces are fully operational, the complex will be capable of processing about 40 000 t/y of Ironveld’s magnetite ore, which, in turn, will provide finished products of 20 000 t/y of HPI, 190 t of vanadium in slag and 3 800 t/y of titanium in slag. Ore will be stockpiled at the smelter complex while the furnace refurbishment is taking place.

The smelter complex uses electricity from the national grid, but Ironveld has signed a letter of intent with energy solutions provider Enernet Global Inc to build, own, operate and maintain a hybrid power plant using renewable energy.

This should provide Ironveld with security of power supply on a capital expenditure-free basis.

The completion of the installation of the independent power supply by Enernet will be broadly in line with the company’s overall refurbishment timetable.

Based on current demand in the South African mining industry, Ironveld Mining is investigating options to produce a product from the fines, which are not suitable for the smelter, for third-party buyers and, thereby, reduce average mining costs per tonne.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
The project is estimated at R40-million, including contingencies. Further upgrades to the plant totalling an estimated R25-million are planned in future when funding allows.

Planned Start/End Date
Ironveld has a planned refurbishment programme of up to nine months. Mining of ore can start within six weeks of completion of the acquisition of FCF.

Latest Developments
Ironveld completed the first sales of metal products from its Rustenburg smelter in June, as planned.

The products sold include high-purity iron and the entirety of titanium slag produced so far this year – all to local buyers. 

On May 12, the company outlined that the Rustenburg smelter would operate with two furnaces from early July, with the third operating furnace to be brought on stream near the end of July. 

Once all three furnaces are operational, the facility will reach its full planned operating capacity.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
Ironveld, tel +44 20 7138 3204 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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